New auto carrier regs come to Ontario

TORONTO, ON – The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) have announced a “made-in-Canada” approach to harmonizing regulations for Stinger-Steer auto carriers.

Earlier this week MTO launched the Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carrier (ESSAC) Special Vehicle Configuration Permit Program.

Carriers and other industry groups have been asking for an overhaul to the Ontario regulations surrounding the auto carriers since the passage of the FAST act in the U.S. in 2015 changed regulations to things like length, and front and rear load overhang limits south of the border.

The OTA says in the initial development phase of the program looked at two models based on the new U.S. regulations, but size restrictions proved to be too much of a disadvantage, causing the lobbying group to go back to members to develop configurations it says will help the Ontario trucking and auto-manufacturing communities stay competitive.

“MTO should be applauded for working with our sector to create a productive and safe configuration instead of just doing the easy thing and simply adopting a US standard, which quite frankly, needed some work,” said Geoff Wood, OTA senior vice president, policy.

The program consists of three new configurations under the special vehicle configurations permit program, offering multiple options for carriers and automotive shippers moving finished vehicles both within Ontario and across the border.

One of the configurations provides similar efficiencies to the U.S. designs, but incorporates a longer trailer wheelbase to help address excessive rear overhang concerns. This allows it to travel anywhere in Ontario, while also being fully compatible with the U.S. regulations.

The new permit program is expected to be rolled out slowly to allow carriers, suppliers, and shippers to adjust to the new options.

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